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This week focuses on a Western directed by Robert Aldrich starring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
4 FOR TEXAS (1963)
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Stars
The first ten minutes of 4 FOR TEXAS tease a completely different picture than follows. Opening with a stunt heavy stagecoach chase, we’re thrown right into a thrilling Western with two likable leads and a strong villain in Charles Bronson. After that sequence, we’re treated with an amusing game between Sinatra and Martin as they steal a money bag back and forth from each other. By the point Martin finally rides off with the dough and all the horses, we’re led to believe that the rest of the picture will be a light-hearted but exciting Western adventure.
Wrong. 4 FOR TEXAS is an embarrassment to nearly everyone involved in its production, especially director Robert Aldrich who made a name for himself with tough, minimalist pictures. This star vehicle has neither of those attributes. Actually, it’s not really a Western. After its opening sequence, the movie descends into dull parlor games with over the top production design. The women and men involved are all nice to look at but everything that comes out of their mouths, comedic or dramatic, falls flat. I don’t know if there’s a genuine laugh in the whole picture and I barely cracked a smile at a couple moments that nearly work.
It all feels like Sinatra and Martin going through the motions to have a good time on a movie set while Aldrich cringes behind the camera. They should have made sure we’d have a good time too…
Watched on Amazon